Belfast Telegraph

Magath criticises Premier League

Former Fulham manager Felix Magath has criticised Premier League clubs for overlooking youth development, claiming that is the reason why there are no English clubs in the last eight of the Champions League and Europa League this season.

While Magath acknowledges that the Premier League is one of the world's most attractive divisions, he says failing to ensure solid foundations is now being reflected in their clubs' results on the continent.

"A tendency was recognisable and for there to be no Premier League side in the quarter-finals is too little, but you can't talk about it being misfortune," Magath told Sport1.de.

"English football has structural deficiencies in the youth area. It's astonishing that a footballing nation like England lets the gloss of the Premier League blind them.

"Of course the Premier League is more popular around the world than the Bundesliga, but that's superseded by the fact English football has had very little to show in the form of national team success for many years.

"Maybe they can learn something from our world champions in this area, but please don't think it's all about gathering data because gathering more and more data in football, particularly in England, doesn't really help."

Magath believes English clubs are making the wrong kind of investments in this area.

"Of course [having] money is not a disadvantage, but it's being used in the wrong way in England," added the 61-year-old.

"They're creating machinery which is overrated. Many English clubs now have a performance director who has a whole manner of data over each player and, with that, he's meant to decide what should be trained and when, even though he's not even at the game and seen how the player performed or what sort of situation he's in."

Magath's own stint in English football was not particularly successful.

He took charge of Fulham in February 2014 but was unable to prevent them from being relegated to the Championship.

In September, he was relieved of his duties with Fulham having gone 11 league games without a win.

"I don't regret it at all," Magath said. "Of course it wasn't such a joyful time in a sporting sense, but the reasons for that were deep-rooted.

"Fulham had big problems in February 2014 - they were bottom of the table without me.

"I thought I could have had more influence in forming the team, but that wasn't the case. That just reinforced my belief that it's better to be coach and manager in one so that you can have the responsibility for what happens."

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